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Daily Archives: March 9, 2012

‘Sunny’ debut for farmers market

Spring-like weather, complete with high March winds, ushered in this year's edition of the Baker County Farmers Market in north Macclenny.The Baker County Farmers Market kicked off its 2012 season under sunny skies and brisk winds at Macclenny City Park on March 3, offering something for just about everybody, including fresh vegetables, flowering and fruit-bearing plants, handmade jewelry and homemade baked goods.

For entertainment during the five-hour event from 8 am until 1 pm, there was music by the Bluegrass Breeze and clogging demonstrations by a local 4-H group.

If the first Saturday was any indication the weekly market should be a big hit this year, said Darryl Register, co-chair of the event and director of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce.

“I was very satisfied and happy,” Mr. Register said. “We’d love to have more vendors. But we had seven, and during the fall run we never had more than four.”

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Lady Cats softball continues hot streak

The Lady Wildcat softball team remained hot this week as the girls out scored opponents 32-3 on their way to a three-game sweep. Over the past six games, they have out scored opponents by an amazing 75-5 margin.

During the last week the Lady Cats shut out Bishop Kenny and Trinity Christian and beat West Nassau by seven runs. They face Paxon and Yulee March 8 and 9 at home.

The bats stayed red hot against Bishop Kenny during the 10-0 win at home on February 28. The girls broke open a scoreless game with seven runs in the third inning.

Tina Hauge, Shelby Gatto, Taylor Crummey, Clara Harvey, Brooke Roberts, Megan Farmer and Tayler McCann all scored. Gatto doubled in rally.

Haley Crews added an insurance run in the fifth and Kylie Holton and Crummey put up two more runs in the sixth to finish the scoring.

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Prohibit curbside soliciting

Sandwhich board sign soliciting donations at US 90 and 5th Street last week.Driving around the Macclenny area late last week, you’d likely come across people soliciting cash for an organization billing itself as the Disabled Veterans Foundation.

Clad in camouflage fatigues and handing out miniature American flags, motorists got the impression they were veterans helping other vets with “food, clothing, housing and work.” That’s what it said on those sandwich signs posted at collection points.

The newspaper (and city hall) fielded numerous telephone inquiries as to just who these people were. Are they legit, callers wanted to know.

We posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page an article indicating the Plantation-based non-profit organization may not be what it’s cracked up to be. The gist: it’s unclear how much of what it collects actually ends up in the pockets of down-and-out veterans.

Yours truly spoke with one of the collectors (a nice gentleman), who made the startling revelation that until recently he had been homeless. He was part of the Disabled Veterans Foundation team moving from city to city collecting money.

He was being paid, and the non-profit was footing travel expenses for the group. He seemed truly grateful for the opportunity.

According to a Miami television station, this and other similar organizations that tug at the heart strings of Americans concerned about the fate of our veterans are out there collecting money. They are not affiliated with government agencies like the Veterans Administration, and many of them are, well, a bit on the shady side.

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BCHS senior drops half his weight, joins Marines

Kyle McCarty jogs after school March 4.Kyle McCarty’s Christmas list two years ago was very short. It contained only one, very expensive gift. And when his mother saw it hanging on the fridge, she began to cry.

The overweight teenager asked for gastric bypass surgery, the same procedure his parents received some years earlier.

“She was like, ‘I know you really want this and we’ll do the best we can,” Mr. McCarty, now 18 years old and enlisted in the Marines Corps, recalled March 5 during an after-school workout session.

That moment began a long process in which, little by little, Mr. McCarty shed nearly half his body weight — some 165 pounds.

At age 16, the Baker County High School student tipped the scales at 340 pounds. He did little outside of school except play video games. It was painful to walk around campus. He was teased by classmates. He needed special chairs because he couldn’t fit into standard seats.

Now, all of that is in the past.

After asking his parents for the gastric bypass, also known as the stomach stapling surgery, they took him to see the same doctor who oversaw their surgeries when they each weighed more than 300 pounds.

The physician prescribed a diet of no more than 1000 calories a day and regular exercise.

“My parents literally, physically pushed me to do exercise,” Mr. McCarty said. “All I used to do, day and night, was play video games. I wouldn’t go outside for days at a time.”

The Macclenny teen soon dropped 15 pounds.

“After that first week, it just kept getting easier and easier,” he said.

Mr. McCarty went to see his doctor again. He’d lost 50 pounds at that point and the doctor refused to move ahead with the surgery. “He said you’re too young, we can’t give this to you,” Mr. McCarty recalled.

More time passed and the youth kept feeling better and better, physically and emotionally. Last September, he walked into a military recruiting office and enlisted in the Marines.

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